When the options before you seem untenable, it’s time to get some new ones. Most people simply accept what they’re given, but the truly successful open new doors when the old ones close, even if that means making the new doors themselves. If you feel your dating options are limited or even non-existent, it’s time to expand your horizons, dare to step out, and strike new ground.
Increase your service
The key to increasing your success is thinking probabilistically. Target actions that increase your probability of success. Often that means increasing the likelihood of crossing paths with acceptable prospects. When you know what activities those types of people have in their life, it’s easier to find new opportunities to meet them.
For example, if you want a worthy companion you can take to the temple, you need to cross paths more with temple worthy people. What activities do temple worthy people have in their life? Service is a big one. How do you cross paths more with people who have service in their life? By serving more yourself.
So expand the scope of your service. Really delve into your ministering assignment. Get more active with family history in family history centers. Pray for and be attentive to service opportunities in your ward. Spend more time in the temple. My grandfather met his second wife while serving in the temple.
You get more opportunity to meet quality people when you cross paths more often with quality people. The probability you’ll do that increases substantially when you position yourself for that crossing to happen. And the best way to do that is to identify what the people you want to meet do in their lives and then do the same things in yours.
Leverage social media
The advent of social media offers an amazing opportunity to do just that. The business model social media platforms use lets you leverage them for free. And when you understand the fundamentals of the dating journey, leveraging social media for dating becomes quite natural.
Too many LDS singles frustrate their own progress by thinking huge commitment when considering dating. They aren’t being in the place where they are. The dating journey has various stages, each with more commitment than the one before. The first stage, Friendship, has zero commitment. Guess what stage you’re in when you first meet someone? Yep, Friendship. So focus on building friendship when you meet people since that’s the stage you’re in.
Join groups that attract the type of people you want to meet, get active in group discussions, and you’ll increase your probability of crossing paths with quality prospects. Then be in the place where you are — whatever stage of the dating journey you’re in — as you get to know people. Your journey will go better when you’re in the place where you are.
Adopt a personal ministry
My final suggestion I’ve mentioned before. Long-time audience members will recognize my encouragement to adopt a personal ministry. Find some contribution of goodness you can make, and then devote yourself to making that contribution.
Adopting a personal ministry makes you a more interesting person, which in turn makes you more attractive in dating. And the people who’ll cross your path as you perform your personal ministry are more likely to be quality prospects interested in devoting themselves to causes similar to the one you embrace with your personal ministry. What a wonderful foundation for a friendship that could grow into a wonderful foundation for marriage!
If you’re frustrated with the dating options LDS singles typically pursue, expand your horizons by imagining new options that approach dating in different ways while still based in the fundamentals of what you’re trying to do. We all have opportunities all around us, and when we embrace new and different ways of thinking, we can see more of those opportunities and then take advantage of them. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
As I watched the film again recently, I couldn’t help but think about dating. Johnny Lingo saw in Mahana something no one else saw. Where everyone else saw an ugly woman worthy of mockery, Johnny Lingo saw a woman so beautiful everyone would remember her as such forever. The obvious parallels to dating invite us to see others as they could be and not just as they are. And indeed, we can make more progress in our dating journey when we see with Johnny Lingo eyes.
Exercise your influence
Perhaps the most important dating lesson here is the influence we have over our own dating journey. What we think of ourselves truly makes the biggest difference.
Many LDS singles think other people determine their progress in dating. I used to be one of those, but not any more. Now that I understand my influence over the choices others make, I no longer have the victim mentality that once drove me to blame others for why I’m single.
Johnny Lingo certainly didn’t have a victim mentality. He could have easily chosen to court another woman. All the single women in the island village had their eyes on him. And Mahana thought so poorly of herself she preferred hiding in a tree over facing her suitor.
But Mahana changed her tune after Johnny Lingo exercised his influence. He didn’t make her change how she thought of herself. Rather, he invited her to do so by thinking better himself of her and acting in accordance with that perspective. He exercised his agency to influence others to choose in his favor. That’s a powerful lesson we can apply in our own dating journey.
Walk beside them
Johnny Lingo saw in Mahana the beautiful woman she really was. And he helped her to see that for herself so she could release that beauty for all to see. He truly walked with her.
So often in dating, we look at potential prospects solely as what they are today. We then assume they’ll always be that way and judge accordingly. And we certainly don’t do anything to help others become what they could be. It’s much easier to reject them then walk with them towards their potential.
That wasn’t Johnny Lingo’s attitude. If he’d taken that approach and viewed Mahana as the ugly woman everyone else saw, he’d have chased after some other woman in the village. But Johnny Lingo saw Mahana as she could be. And he walked by her side to help her get there. In the end, that approach resulted in his wife being the most desirable woman on the island.
Adjust your vision
What if we took that approach to dating? What if we started seeing each other with Johnny Lingo eyes? How different would dating be for us?
Instead of seeing people as they are now, try seeing people as they could become and asking, “If this person were to achieve his or her potential, how attractive of a prospect would he or she be then?” Johnny Lingo didn’t judge Mahana based on what she presented before he married her. He judged her based on what he knew she could become, and he helped he get there. That’s what he married, not the ugly girl hiding in a tree, but the beautiful woman who would elicit the admiration of all who saw her.
We LDS singles need to adopt this approach in dating. We need to see with Johnny Lingo eyes. When we do, we’ll see more opportunity all around us. We’ll make more progress in our dating efforts. And we’ll enjoy both our single and our married lives more. And that will bring us more joy in our journey.
How many of us are doing that? How many of us are taking the action needed to improve our lives? Again, only action produces results. And it doesn’t matter how undesired your reality is today. You can flip any reality into something better when you flip your focus.
More than just seeing
Some may find that a bold claim. If you’re engulfed in your own negative experience, you’ll rightly wonder how simply looking at something different can change anything. But we’re talking here about focusing, not just looking.
Just because you look at something doesn’t mean you’re focused on it. When you drive a car, for example, you’ll look ahead for the most part because that’s the direction you’re going. But occasionally, you look in your mirrors to get a sense of what’s around you. That’s part of safe driving. But how safe would you be looking mostly in your rear view mirror? You’d find driving your vehicle safely difficult if you did that.
That’s the difference between focusing and seeing. Everyone has undesired experiences in life. Simply looking at them won’t create a negative reality. Only when you constantly choose to keep your vision fixed on the negative are you focused on the negative. And a focus on the negative means a reality filled with negativity.
How it actually works
Changing a negative reality is as simple as choosing a positive focus. If a negative reality results from a negative focus, then a positive reality will result from a positive focus. But how exactly does that work?
Many think reality is the collection of what happens to you, but this perspective drives a focus on what others do or don’t do, and the resulting reality is one in which you’re disempowered to change your own life for the better.
What happens to you does play a role in shaping reality, but you play a much larger role with the meaning you assign. You’ll get a certain result depending on your actions. And, yes, other people play a role in determining that result. But whatever the result, you choose what that result means. And that meaning plays a larger role in creating your reality than what others do.
The same undesired experience can come to two different people, and you can find one in complete turmoil and the other in complete peace. The same thing happened to both, so why don’t both have the same reality? It’s because reality is more than just what you experience; it’s also what meaning you choose to give your experience. And the way you assign meaning is through your focus. You choose your focus, and thereby you choose the meaning you assign to your experiences, and thereby you choose your reality.
Stand and own it
When you understand how it all works, the ramifications can overwhelm. If you choose your reality, then the one ultimately responsible if you don’t like your reality is you! That realization usually precedes one of two responses: You’ll either cower back and hide, or you’ll stand up and embrace it.
Cowering can be comfortable, but that choice disempowers you, surrendering you to a victim mentality that keeps you in the prison of always blaming others for why your life isn’t what it should be. But your best life has you empowered with a victor mentality that liberates you. And that’s where the harder choice to stand up and embrace the truth comes in. To have your best life, you must stand and own it.
If you don’t like your current reality, you can flip it when you flip your focus. Stand up, own your life, and start making intentional choices to seize your power of agency and move yourself towards your best life. You’ll feel the empowerment that comes from taking control of your life. You’ll feel the satisfaction that comes from making progress towards your goals. And you’ll learn how to stay positive no matter what negative experiences come your way. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Most people, single or married, simply accept what they're given. They don't chase what they want. The result is they often don't get what they want. And not getting what they want, they end up unhappy. They settle for a life far beneath their privileges.
It doesn't have to be that way for anyone. And yes, anyone includes YOU! I don't care what's happened to you or where you're from or how old you are or any of that business. Results come from one thing and one thing only, and that's action. Period. Take the same actions, you get the same results. Take different actions, you get different results.
Once you stop over-thinking it and just accept the simplicity of that truth, it's easier to see other truths, like the need to own your life. After all, if your results come from your actions, then the only way your life gets better is with better actions. And that means accepting responsibility for how your life results and start choosing actions that will produce the results you want.
Most don't really struggle with grasping the Law of the Harvest. They know they need more effective actions to get more effective results. What many struggle with are the details. They don't know exactly what actions are the more effective ones. "What specific actions," they ask, "do I need to take to get the specific results I want?"
If you're asking that question, understand you'll never know the answer you should have for that question if you don't get your thinking right. Sound bonkers? It's still completely true. We don't just act; we're not hardwired that way. We're biologically hardwired to play out habit. And that means some thinking had to occur before we took any action.
Without understanding why you've chosen to act as you have in the past, you won't know what you need to choose in the future to get different results. Understanding the connection between what you've done and what you got will help you know what changes you need in what you do to get changes in what you get.
One of my favorite scenes in the film Jack Reacher is when Jack is in Helen's office helping her understand why her client is innocent. To open her mind to new possibilities, Jack has Helen look at people working late in a neighboring building. He slowly steps her through seeing through new eyes what she's seen before too many times to count. And he does it by entertaining an important philosophical question of what it truly means to be free.
True freedom exists in how you think. Changing how you think lets you see more clearly the connections between what you've done and what you got. You can see new possibilities for getting something different. You can see the changes you need in yourself to embrace those possibilities. And you can see how that future can be yours regardless of what's happened to you or where you're from or how old you are or any of that business.
Break yourself free of a life far less than the one you're capable of living. God gave you agency so you could choose for yourself what you'll do. Choose to learn the connections between how you think, what you do, and what you get. Then choose to leverage that knowledge in better actions designed to yield better results. When you consistently choose to plant and nurture seeds of more effective action, over time you'll reap a harvest of more effective results. And that will bring you more joy in your journey.
Howdy! I'm Lance, host of Joy in the Journey Radio. I've been blogging about LDS singles life since 2012, and since 2018 I've been producing a weekly Internet radio show and podcast to help LDS singles have more joy in their journey and bring all Latter-day Saints together. Let's engage a conversation that will increase the faith of LDS singles and bring singles and marrieds together in a true unity of the faith.
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